Power strips and extension cords are found frequently throughout many homes. During the fall and winter season, as people put up plenty of exciting outdoor decorations, even more power strips and extension cords are used to carry electricity to these installations. However, power strips, although they are convenient, bring with them specific risks. To avoid electrical failures, fires, and more, read on to learn which power strip safety tips you must remember.
The Difference Between Power Strips and Extension Cords
If you aren’t clear about the difference between the two, power strips are the devices with a length of cable with a plug on one end and a row of sockets embedded in a slim box on the other end. Extension cords are much longer, less stable, and only feature two or three plugs. Extension cords are made to be used for hours at a time, whereas a strip can handle a few days.
Power Strips Are Designed to Handle Multiple Small Loads
Power strips are designed to power multiple devices at once, but those devices must be small. Power strips are not intended to power major appliances like space heaters, power tools, or microwaves. For those large items, you must find a wall outlet to plug them into.
Power Strips Have Different Voltage Ratings
Maintaining power strip safety can be done by selecting the power strip that meets your voltage needs. Each strip has different ratings, and if you exceed the maximum safe voltage of a strip, you risk electrical fires and blown out appliances.
Power Strips Aren’t Intended for Extended Use
Although power strips can handle a couple of days, or a week or two, of continuous use, they are not designed as a workaround for proper outlets. They lack the stability and longevity required for the continual support of electrical devices. Eventually, they will fail and potentially take your devices down too.
If you require more outlets and circuits, hire an electrician to install them in convenient places in your home.
Power Strips Should Have Surge Protection
A crucial part of power strip safety is surge protection. Surge protection devices are indicated on the box and by a small light or switch indicator. This simple device protects your equipment if an electrical surge or short occurs.
Never Plug Power Strips Into Other Extension Devices
Power strips are meant to be plugged into stable wall outlets. If you chain together power strips, the electrical signal becomes increasingly weak and less stable.
By being mindful of power strip safety, you can make sure that your power strips provide the convenience and service they are designed for without putting you at risk.
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